HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands.
By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands revealed that initial estimates of the total value of repairs and renovations of the Rand Memorial Hospital in Grand Bahama would be in the region of some $20 million.
On Friday, Dr Sands, with State Minister for Grand Bahama Senator Kwasi Thompson, and Minister of State for Hurricane Recovery Iram Lewis, toured the hospital to inspect the progress of work taking place at the hospital, which sustained severe flood damage in early September during Hurricane Dorian.
The large portion of the public health facility is temporarily closed to the public until repairs and renovations can be completed.
“We have said that based on our initial estimates that the total value of repairs and renovations would be as much as $20 million. Some of that is in cash and some of that is in kind; there are a number of people working on this, and it speaks to the work being done at a cost.”
Additionally, the minister said that they are expected to accept a new modular facility next week donated to the Ministry of Health for both Grand Bahama and Abaco.
“The MOH has agreed to have all of donations for health audited, and we will present that audited report once approved,” said Dr Sands.
He hopes that the hospital renovations would be completed before Samaritan’s Purse’s tenure ends in March 2020.
“We would like to have a number of services returned to Rand Memorial Hospital at that time,” Dr Sands said. “Realistically, we must be out of the temporary facility when the hurricane season starts again. We are under the gun.”
The minister added: “This is an urgent situation and we will work as aggressively as we can – and yes, we are going to work through the holiday season to get this done.”
In East End, the tent facility would be replaced with a modular structure in early January, according to Dr Sands.
“We believe that the facility is either in GB or is about to be shipped to GB. We also identified a similar modular facility for McLean’s Town, and the eastern parts of GB just like we have done for Moore’s Island, and Treasure Cay. So, there are many moving parts, and we are trying to coordinate this so that nothing gets missed or lost.”
Minister Sands stated that the Ministry of Health has accepted a donation of a newly constructed clinic for High Rock, which is now in the process of being designed. He noted that once architectural renderings are finished and the cost determined, it would be put out to bid.
It is anticipated that once the new clinic is built, he said, that there would be some consolidation of the number of clinics in Grand Bahama.
“Never waste the crisis; we did not ask for Dorian, but Dorian removed a lot of infrastructure. They say when you’re served lemons make lemonade and we are going to make the most of this to improve the level of services provided to the people of Abaco and Grand Bahama,” he said.